Director Peter Berg Slams Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPYs Award

Peter Berg Caitlyn Jenner ESPYs
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

UPDATED: Clear eyes, full heart? Not so much.

While Caitlyn Jenner’s acceptance of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at Wednesday night’s ESPYs drew cheers from the crowd, “Friday Night Lights” creator Peter Berg was evidently jeering.

The “Lone Survivor” director shared a meme on Instagram, circulated by the Facebook account Main Stream Media Sponsor Boycotts, slamming Jenner’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award win. The image contains side-by-side photos of Jenner and U.S. Army veteran Gregory D. Gadson.

“One man traded 2 legs for the freedom of the other to trade 2 balls for 2 boobs. Guess which man made the cover of Vanity Fair, was praised for his courage by President Obama and is to be honored with the ‘Arthur Ashe Courage Award’ by ESPN?” the text read. “Yup,” Berg captioned his post, simply.

Later on Thursday, however, Berg backtracked after fielding considerable criticism on the Web. In another Instagram post, he wrote, “I have the utmost respect for Caitlyn Jenner and I am a strong supporter of equality and the rights of trans people everywhere. I also believe that we don’t give enough attention to our courageous returning war veterans, many of whom have sacrificed their bodies and mental health for our country and our principals- principals that include the freedom to live the life you want to live without persecution or abuse.”

Gadson, who was in the U.S. Army for 15 years, lost both his legs to a roadside bomb while serving in Operation Iraq Freedom. He’s now a motivational speaker and actor, appearing in Berg’s film “Battleship.” He played in the Army’s football team from 1985 to 1989.

Berg executive produced the NBC football series “Friday Night Lights,” which is the TV adaptation of the book of the same name written by H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger, who coincidentally also penned the Vanity Fair cover story in which Jenner made her debut as a woman.

Berg is currently exec producing the HBO series “Ballers,” starting Dwayne Johnson. His upcoming film “Deepwater Horizon,” with Mark Wahlberg, hits theaters on Sept. 30, 2016.

NBC sportscaster Bob Costas was among those critical of ESPN’s decision to honor Jenner when the award was first announced.

“It strikes me that awarding the Arthur Ashe Award to Caitlyn Jenner is just a crass exploitation play — it’s a tabloid play,” he said on “The Dan Patrick Show” radio program in June. “In the broad world of sports, I’m pretty sure they could’ve found someone — and this is not anything against Caitlyn Jenner — who was much closer actively involved in sports, who would’ve been deserving of what that award represents.”

Jenner, who won the gold medal in the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics, delivered a stirring speech at last night’s awards ceremony on ABC in which she preached “accepting people for who they are.”

“Trans people deserve something vital,” she said. “They deserve your respect. And from that respect, comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 178

Leave a Reply

178 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. bliz says:

    ****note: if reading this post please disregard the poster called The Truth. Theyre annoying and far from “the truth”…

  2. Dazman says:

    Nothing courageous about a man tricking everyone into thinking they`re a woman!

  3. Greg Mamrila says:

    Courage is not coming out of the closet. Plain and simple

    • Kelly says:

      She got the award by refusing to do the Diane Sawyer interview. She would agree to the interview if they gave her the Award.

      Greed in a poor disguise as bravery.
      Loser

  4. richieoc says:

    I have no problem with her winning the award, but what confuses me is why someone like Laverne Cox, who has been a spokesman for transgender rights for much longer than Jenner wasn’t awarded instead? Could it been because she not quite as rich and not quite as white as Jenner? Or is it simply because she doesn’t has as good a PR guy>

    • The Truth says:

      Taking nothing away from Laverne Cox’s contributions in building awareness for transgender issues, she doesn’t have the distinction of once being known as the world’s greatest athlete.

      • Kelly says:

        She bargained for the Award. SHe wouldn’t do the Diane Sawyer interview unless she was going to get the Award.
        Ultimately it’s a marketing strategy for the self obsessed Jenner for “her”
        reality show.

        Yep, greed has been awarded in the disguise of bravery.
        Please.

  5. janejones7 says:

    NO respect for Caitlyn Jenner – she BOUGHT that award, it’s just about publicity for her reality show and making money.

    • The Truth says:

      Claims by you and others in this thread that Caitlyn Jenner and her PR team somehow “bought” the Arthur Ashe Courage Award are unsupported by any facts.

      Jenner’s team did propose her to ESPN as a candidate for the award. Certainly the publicity potential of the award was a major consideration in this proposal. This is consonant with Jenner’s stated purpose to raise public awareness of transgender issues and bring compassionate respect to transgender individuals. This is also the purpose of the I Am Cait! series on the E! Network, as well as the ABC Diane Sawyer interview, and any other public appearances Jenner has made and will make in support of her initiative.

      And of course, Jenner and her team want her show and any other endeavors that are involved with Jenner’s career to be as financially profitable as possible. Are you suggesting they should do otherwise? Maximizing earnings is a foundational principle of the American way, and Jenner has been a savvy, successful entrepreneur ever since winning the Olympic decathlon in 1976.

      ESPN executives have acknowledged that they were thrilled when they received the suggestion from Jenner’s team that she be considered for the award. And there is little doubt that executives from ABC, ESPN, and E! conferred and coordinated with each other regarding the decision to honor Jenner with the award and to maximize the media impact of this decision. All three networks are owned by the Walt Disney Company which consciously promotes synergistic coordination among its media properties and all of its corporate divisions. This is one of the reasons they are arguably the world’s most successful entertainment conglomerate.

      But ESPN is not free to simply give the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to anyone they wish. The award must be approved by the Arthur Ashe Foundation. By accepting ESPN’s recommendation, they not only supported Jenner’s worthy agenda, but also brought unprecedented worldwide attention to the award, their foundation, and the distinguished legacy of Arthur Ashe.

      No craven collusion. Just winning, all the way around.

  6. Loree says:

    What an ungrateful little twerp. Here’s a guy whose claim to “fame” is directing the bloated big budget Razzie nominated battleship bomb (he was never very convincing as an actor). Now he’s judging who he believes is worthy of an award for courage, when his biggest act of bravery is firing a PA for putting too much foam on his latté.

    The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is not a competition, Pete. Could it be that you’re bitter at being nominated for 13 separate awards, yet winning nothing?

    Oh wait. There was the Fun Radio Trophy you won in 1998. Seriously.

    Dick.

  7. JC says:

    These men suffer from the mental illness gender dysphoria, which makes them uncomfortable with their biological sex.

    This is all. They are not meant to be women, nor was there a mistake cduring conception either. What these men need are a good psychiatrist, an anti-psychotic medication and some real family support.

    • The Truth says:

      Get your facts straight.

      Gender dysphoria is not a mental illness. It’s a medical disorder, also known as gender identity disorder (GID). While the cause of the disorder is not fully understood, genetic biology, brain physiology, and prenatal hormonal exposure are increasingly considered to be determining factors, as opposed to psychological or behavioral causes. Current trends in medical research view the diagnostic classification of GID as a psychological disorder as outdated and support declassification because the classification pathologizes gender variance, sustains an outmoded binary model of gender, and often results in inhumane stigmatization of transgender individuals.

      Many transgenders do suffer from psychological illness, particularly depression, because of their disturbing mind/body confusion and the abusive societal rejection they fear. But resolution of these psychological issues does not resolve gender dysphoria.

      The contemporary medical approach to treatment for persons diagnosed with GID is to support individuals in physically modifying their bodies to align with their psychological gender identity, as Caitlyn Jenner has done. This approach is based on the scientific consensus that gender dysphoria a medical problem correctable by medical intervention.

      So when you say, “they are not meant to be women” and prescribe psychiatric treatment and anti-psychotic medication, you’re making an uninformed judgment without any factual support. You’re correct that transgenders need real family support, but as Caitlyn Jenner is making clear, transgenders also need broad societal support which starts with understanding what gender dysphoria really is and allowing transgender individuals to be who they truly are without shaming, scorning, or otherwise attacking them.

  8. M. says:

    I totally agree with Peter Berg. We live in a society now that idolizes white trash like Jenner and the Kardashians and the Honey Boo-boo’s and ignores true heroism, the kind that’s bloody sometimes and heroic and actually means something because it’s not cute and make you go awwwwwwwwwwwwww for those with no lives, who’s only connection to the real world is at the end of a Twitter feed.

    it is sad that most people can no longer see the world for what it really is, and decides to heap honour and tribute to people ***that don’t matter***, so they can feel good about themselves and excuse their small-mindeness and their lack of general caring about others because they retweeted said ***people that don’t matter***’s pathetic tweets for attention…

    while Jenner’s National Enquirer lifestyle is of his own choice, it does not deserve to be called heroic. it should be called for what it is, his own choice. he did nothing heroic is deciding to go ahead with all that surgery. if anything, he did this totally for himself, for his own life and pleasure, and that in my book is the definition of selfish.

    when he does something truly heroic, like helping others, then we can applaud him.

    in the meantime, he should have had the balls (pardon the pun) to say no to that award… others deserve it way more that than him, or her, or whatever it is now…

    and yes i am gay, in case some of you decide to say my post is insensitive to all those BLTGT or whatever people…

    • The Truth says:

      If you think Caitlyn Jenner isn’t helping others, you are pathetically delusional. She’s brought worldwide attention to an issue that is the source of suffering for millions — not just gender dysphorics and transgender individuals, but all the people who care for them and share their struggles. And when you slur Jenner as “white trash,” you reflect your own sadly obtuse state of mind and spirit. Your post is not only insensitive, but also ignorant. Look into gender dysphoria and gain some informed perspective instead of perpetuating pain.

      • MaxDog says:

        I have no problem with her winning the award, but what confuses me is why someone like Laverne Cox, who has been a spokesman for transgender rights for much longer than Jenner wasn’t awarded instead? Could it been because she not quite as rich and not quite as white as Jenner? Or is it simply because she doesn’t has as good a PR guy>

  9. pauleky says:

    As others have stated, this is not a competition. Our soldiers are courageous and trans people are courageous. If you don’t think it took courage for Jenner to get up there and speak in front of millions, you’re crazy. No, she didn’t lose any limbs, but her contribution to sports was greater than Gadson’s – by a mile. Give it to Gadson next year. This is clearly just a reaction to the fact Jenner is transgender. That’s it. You don’t have to like it. Now, you just need to get over it.

  10. Delia Kropp says:

    One aspect of the conflict here seems to center on one’s definition of courage. Is it enlisting in the service for a few years, and following orders that lead to personal disaster? Is it fighting a disease day after day, and trying to live the best one can in that short time? Or is it making a very difficult decision not just for one’s own survival but many others like her, even though the outcome is bound to meet with derision, misunderstanding, and lots of attempted shaming? There are many possible takes on this word, courage.

    As a transgender person I can assure you transitioning is not done to gain attention, or sympathy. It is a necessity. Caitlyn waited her entire adult life for what felt like the right time, when she was ready, and also when the world might be more accepting. Being a public person she figured it best to come out publicly, to own the narrative, make sure the story was primarily hers and not from the voices of supposition, ignorance and hate to come from other camps. Particularly from the world of ESPN, of men’s competitive sport, where it seems the measure of all things professional and person is one’s masculinity.

    There are a lot of feelings surrounding this subject. I am reminded of a quote from the author Brene Brown:

    “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.”

    Ms. Jenner is not an ordinary person, but she has by this definition more than her share of ordinary courage. If you held the title “World’s Greatest Athlete” and knew that fulfilling your greatest need also meant that your title would be diminished or even negated, then you too might need to summon up some courage. Or perhaps you’d just keep living a lie, as too many transgender people choose to do, and be adding to the misery of the world, or even snap one day and end up in the morgue, taken by your own hand or another’s. Certainly there is no courage in that choice, just tragedy. Would this be preferable for Caitlyn? I hope not.

    While I am pleased that ardent, outspoken celebrity opponents of Caitlyn’s like Mr. Berg have quickly reversed themselves, I wish it was because they saw the error of their ways, and chose to speak from their hearts anew. I am reasonably sure its because their PR people warn of impending disaster and damage to their delicate reputations. For we are today’s hot topic and temporarily, no doubt, and find ourselves awarded a certain amount of grace, a commodity most of the population still feels we don’t actually deserve. Thus to many this feels like we’re being “forced down people’s throats”. That’s as opposed to being historically hated, or ridiculed, and chronically misunderstood. As with people of color and other minorities it seems we just cannot find our right and proper place in the white middle-class, cisgender majority’s Order of Things.

    Well, that is simply not my problem. To paraphrase somewhat from another author, James Baldwin: “I am not the nigger. The nigger … is you.”

    And in this world, as in Mr. Baldwin’s, it takes a lot of courage to believe that, to declare that, and to act accordingly.

  11. LorettaS says:

    Simply, I stand with Peter Berg. It is not hero status to make a personal choice to change gender. It took a lot of mental strength. But this award thing………. Really? Caitlyn is being forced on us. We are so restricted on any thing we say anymore. Its to the point of ridiculous. Down here with us little people are many, many, that agree with you Peter. What is happening to our freedom of speech? And what is happening to the media?

    • The Truth says:

      Peter Berg, you, and all other American citizens are free to say anything you want within the limits of our laws. The sacrifices of service members like Colonel Gadson and millions of other veterans guarantee you that your freedom of speech remains intact. But if you think that affirming a mean-spirited Internet meme that was clearly created to demean Caitlyn Jenner honors courageous veterans, you are way off base, and you and Berg and others who support this kind of abusive derision need to get your heads on straight.

  12. How many Mothers at times dream of taking off to a new town and life while caring for 6 screaming kids? BUT they dont because they have to think of the other people in their life. Making decisions in our life includes all the ones in our life and what would benift them all. Bruce said it was time to be true to himself and live for what Bruce wanted. I see no hero in that line of thinking. I see a hero in that Mother who stays to care for those 6 screaming kids. Bruce is no Hero

    • The Truth says:

      The award didn’t go to Bruce Jenner. It went to Caitlyn Jenner. The distinction seems to be lost on many posters in this thread.

      • The Truth says:

        Here’s what you don’t get. When Bruce transitioned to Caitlyn, she finally honored the female gender identity she’d been afraid to publicly acknowledge her whole life. That’s where the heroism comes in. Just look at some of the vicious commentary in this thread, and you will see how maliciously unsympathetic people who don’t understand gender dysphoria can be, Many of the poor decisions made by Bruce Jenner regarding relationships are due to the emotionally crippling gender identity masquerade that was perpetuated by fear of public opprobrium. By summoning up the courage to honor her authentic gender identity, come out as Caitlyn, and face those who are uninformed, insensitive, and unreasonably disgusted, Jenner made a huge change that most who suffer from gender dysphoria don’t have the courage to make because so many in our society simply will not accept them, will label them as freaks, and will treat them abusively. These are the facts, whether you want to accept them or not. Bruce Jenner was a fearful fake. Caitlyn Jenner is finally for real. It’s not ridiculous to recognize this critical distinction and view this difficult transition as heroic — which the ESPYs obviously did — it’s essential if we are to evolve as tolerant and compassionate human beings.

      • Jean 75 says:

        He didn’t change humans when he changed his name and outward appearance. Come on–this is ridiculous—he is still the same exact person/brain/intentioned human/conscience on the inside who has made all the decisions in his life that he has.

        He did not change into someone completely different.

  13. Jean 75 says:

    I think Bruce should spend time speaking to divorced fathers and how they need to spend time with the children they keep creating marriage after marriage after marriage—and how THEY (the kids) have the right to have a present father in their life, vs. the kind of “dad” Bruce was to especially his first set of 2 kids from his first marriage—–where even though he “knew” something was off and that he was supposed to be a woman, he kept divorcing, wreaking havoc on his family and then moving on as though it was all about him———he got married into a hetero relationship and made more kids and moved on AGAIN and then left them behind, and the married Kardashian–who said she was done having kids but Bruce wanted to have a couple more with HER so she did and he spent time with them ONLY because he did not divorce their mother and move on———-so I can only imagine the psychology of pain all those kids had to endure especially when he was on his new Kardashian show showing him as a “good” dad to his 2 newest children from the 3rd marriage.

    Yeah, he does not need to be speaking about anything—–he can DO what he wants, but he is really lacking in the common sense department, and all this talk about transgender people and what they need, etc. Where was he when he left his first wife and kids to be without him, only to be forced to see him spend time with his newest 2nd wife and set of kids, and then move on yet again WITHOUT THEM? He now looks a lot in the mirror but for the wrong reasons.

  14. The line “transgender people deserve your respect” really bothered me I respect those that accept who they are. Not someone who feels compelled to reconstruct themselves to be happy I recently lost the ability to walk. I had been very physically active. My body betrayed me. Rather than wallow in the loss I try to stay engaged and be the best me. The notion that you need to change your physicality to be happy is just beyond me

    • The Truth says:

      You are correct. The notion is beyond you. Look into the realities of gender dysphoria and perhaps your perspective will evolve.

  15. Sammy says:

    I agree 100% but, when you are also celebrating his family so much? That’s the craziest thing. Wake Up America!!!

  16. Alex says:

    Lets keep pretending she didn’t kill someone because she was talking on her cell phone. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    • The Truth says:

      Jenner’s cellphone records were analyzed by the police and indicate no activity at the time of the accident. This does not mean that Bruce Jenner — prior to re-identifying as Caitlyn Jenner — was driving safely or is not at fault for the tragic death of Kim Howe, the woman whose car was rear-ended by Jenner’s. But Howe collided initially with the rear end of the car in front of her. Then Jenner’s car struck the back of Howe’s car, propelling her into the opposite lane where she was struck head on, The head-on collision was determined to be the cause of death. Since it was a three-car chain reaction that preceded the fatal crash, authorities could not make a definitive determination as to who was ultimately at fault and no criminal evidence has been uncovered. Accordingly, no criminal charges have been filed, but Howe’s adult stepchildren have filed a wrongful death suit against Jenner. The burden of proof in this civil suit is not as burdensome as in a criminal case, but it is unlikely the plaintiffs will be able to prove that Jenner is culpable.

      • The Truth says:

        Bliz: Where are your facts? Of course Jenner “could have” been doing anything. But there’s no evidence to support any of your suppositions. The LA DA conducted an investigation and did not charge Jenner. Yes, it’s tragic that a woman died, but it was an accident. These are the facts.

      • bliz says:

        You have no idea what youre talking about. I find u soooo irritating. Call records doesnt mean he wasnt onthe phone. Cellphones arent used just for texting and calls. He couldve been checking texts or on wifi or pictures or playing angry birds. You just dont know so stop fucking acting like you know everything. So dumb. Either way he killed someone whether found guilty or not he killed someone.

  17. Sinthor says:

    Ridiculous. I didn’t see any slam. He made a valid point. Where’s the recognition for that soldier in comparison to Caitlyn? It points out the imbalance we have in society and media between those who are “famous” and those who are not and what certain people are “famous” FOR. That’s all. No slam, no jeer. Sheesh, people. Get a grip!

    Groupthink FTL!

  18. max rebeaux says:

    I think you mean “principles”

  19. andrew brown says:

    The part i don’t understand is earlier THIS YEAR Jenner straight up killed someone, but all anyone talks about is his/her courage. there’s nothing courageous about getting away with murder just because you’re famous

    • The Truth says:

      See above for more accurate information on the traffic accident involving Jenner. Your accusations are unsupported by facts.

  20. Caroline B. says:

    The groupthink that is dominating our culture right now is horrifying. People have convinced themselves through media propagation that it is morally superior to laud Jenner and anything outside of that is “transphobic.” Berg can say he wasn’t “made” to issue his apology and take down the meme, but he was really made to do so by the cultural groupthink of media headlines and commentary. Ironically, the heavy bulk of social media commentators and of real people (i.e. not mediaites) was in agreement with Berg. Jenner is a pathetic “role model” for ANY cause she is representing for a myriad of reasons, and it was beyond obvious that this was more Kardashian-style media whoring on both ESPN and Jenner’s parts. The fact that any public figure is trashed for making a comment that isn’t in complete lockstep with the LBGT agenda (not necessarily the community as I know many gay co-workers and family members who do not blindly follow) as a whole are castigated as evil. What is even more disturbing is that journalism was once separate from ideologies
    order that true discovery and investigations could take place and people could make up their own minds. No more.

  21. realgone2 says:

    Except now we know that it was a publicity stunt. Jenner’s PR people haggled for the award. I hate when people say something publicly and then back track. Grow a pair (no pun intended)

  22. Jenner didn’t trade anything for the boobs – fully intact 65 yo male there. No SRS.

  23. gluserty says:

    I didn’t see Jenner initially honest with what she was doing; for someone so in the public (I think in a cheesy way too) you think that information would’ve been more available. Yet forever, it was deny, deny, deny. As looks go, I think Jenner looks like a mangled Cindy Crawford, but overall I think his surgery group did a good job. In the end, if she’s seriously happy, then that’s the most important thing. Happiness is so underrated!

  24. Mike Brill says:

    Sorry, but doesn’t look to me like he backpedaled at all. He simply stated that, just because he felt Gregory was more deserving does not mean that he is unsupportive of LGBT rights, or of Caitlyn in particular. And that he feels people like Gregory don’t receive enough attention, case in point here.

  25. homosexuality should never be sugar coated because of its evil acts upon which evil men/women has pushed to made it morally exceptive to the Lil children…

  26. Steve Maxedon says:

    Yup!

  27. earth to murkins says:

    He’s totally right and should never have apologized. You guys have a twisted narrative enacted on you by a deplorable special interest lobby. Bruce Jenner is another mentally ill freak who is being paraded around by a cabal of idiots who don’t know they’re biggest accomplishment is in creating all the justification anyone ever needed for being homophobic. Why you people feel the need to separate yourselves and then prey on normal people is beyond me.
    You’re a nation of sheep (according to your media) and the whole world is laughing at you.

    • The Truth says:

      The civilized world is moving rapidly now toward the acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism. Nobody is laughing excepts the bigots who desperately hang on outmoded notions that deny freedom to those of whom they don’t approve. LGBT people are not abnormal, and they are not preying on “normal” people any more than heterosexuals. In fact, many more crimes are committed by heterosexuals against persons of different sexual identity or preference than vice versa, and the vast majority of crimes are perpetrated by heterosexuals against heterosexuals. There is no intelligent reason to be homophobic or fearful of bisexuals and transgenders.

      • The Truth says:

        Bliz: Supporting hatred as a social norm is pathetic.

      • bliz says:

        Youre the only person on here going on and on about how we’re all bigots and how right you are and how the whole workd is changing when its complete bs. Youre the minority voice. And over 5 billion ppl that isnt inthe western world are actually increasing their hatred of lgbtq. Thats the reality. Other cultures hate lgbtq. Especially africans and muslims and russians. You sugar coat everything and try to pump up jenner and act like your opinion is the norm when its not at all. Either way hating lgbtq is just as dimb as your pc police bs. The pojnt ppl have tried saying is thst jenner isnt a good human being and not courageous and doesnt deserve respect or awards.

  28. Berk says:

    Principles, Berg. Principles.

  29. Paige says:

    Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you’re right.

  30. Doodlee says:

    why do you have to be a turd, Berg?! #TurdBergled

  31. Kat says:

    It was a sports awards not army awards what does one have to do with the other. the ESPY courage award is for a SPORTS figure.

    • Clay says:

      Becoming transgender has nothing to do with sports either, and It certainly does not belong in the same “Courage” category as the troops who have sacrificed so much for our country or Leah Still’s battle with cancer.

  32. A Woman In Love says:

    Thank you to the male and female members of the police, fire, paramedics, military, medical,
    field, Secret Service, world leaders, and all others who are courageous. Every day lots of us
    are courageous. Children dying, but who hang on to say goodbye to their parents, parents
    who are dying, but hang to say goodbye to their children, everyday people who jump out of
    nowhere in order to save a life, give life, or encourage life. Most of us are very courageous,
    and I respect everyone who is. Having faced that need myself, I have been courageous. I
    hope this may explain to you what courage is. If not, that’s okay. If it does, I am happy.
    Thank you VARIETY for giving us this platform. And that took courage too.

    • Jean 75 says:

      Wow, thank you for writing this–you bring up the best part of being human–any kind of human, in that there are people who do their jobs every day who do not associate with being any one thing when they are a part of something so much bigger than the single human in being part of a team who live to help others whose color, gender, or anything else doesn’t even come into play because they are being there for OTHERS and not their own agenda.

      There is always a need and there are people there who help humans every day all day with things more important than will ever fill the pages of any rag publication or any publication.

  33. The Truth says:

    On behalf of our Commander-in-Chief, the Army and our nation have already honored Gregory Gadson with many awards: 2 Distinguished Service Awards, a Legion of Merit, 3 Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, 4 Meritorious Service Medals, 4 Army Commendation Medals, and 4 Army Achievement Awards, and 2 National Defense Service Medals, as well as a variety of unit commendations. He’s also received awards from Reader’s Digest, the NCAA, and the American Legion., and I’m sure there are more to come.

    But would an Arthur Ashe Courage Award for Colonel Gadson significantly advance initiatives seeking better care for our courageous veterans? When Gadson makes speaking appearances, his message is about teamwork, not improved care for our courageous veterans.

    But there’s no shortage of celebrities and public figures like Berg who purport to carry the flag for this important issue. Berg could use his film and television clout to create media that meaningfully focuses on the problem. But instead, when he embraces military subjects it’s all about violent battlefield heroics, not survival in the aftermath of sacrifice. He’s done little with the power at his disposal to add any real impetus to the conversation about the treatment of our veterans. And if he thinks he’s helping by perpetuating and affirming a crude, demeaning Internet meme, he dishonors Colonel Gadson and every veteran who has risked life and limb to guarantee the freedoms Caitlyn Jenner has publicly exercised.

    Does Berg really expect any intelligent person to believe him when he attempts to weasel his way out of his embarrassing behavior, proclaiming he respects Caitlyn Jenner or that he supports transgender equality? This kind of bullshit doesn’t even work in the movies, let alone in real life. Someone truly sensitive to transgender issues and supportive of the transgender community’s struggles would never do what he did.

    Obviously Berg and many of the tone deaf posters in this thread don’t recognize or don’t want to recognize that our country is a battlefield for our transgender citizens, who are routinely ridiculed, accosted, shunned, abused, assaulted, battered, murdered, and driven to suicide. For transgenders and those who feel their pain, Caitlyn Jenner is a beacon of hope that one day they will be treated with dignity and respect, rather than scorn and hatred. The ESPY Awards took a bold step toward enlightening the social consciousness of viewers around the world by honoring Caitlyn Jenner. If you want to call her a freak or question her motives or the motives of ESPN or Vanity Fair, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution. The issue is acceptance of our differences and the rights of each of us to pursue happiness in our own ways without harming others. Any other agenda pales by comparison.

    As a combat veteran, I don’t want Peter Berg and his ilk to think for one moment that they speak for me or any of the millions of other veterans who understand that tolerance and compassion are what we’ve fought for and will continue to fight for.

  34. gluserty says:

    I have nothing against Caitlyn Jenner or the transformation in progress, but I wouldn’t call his decision courageous. I think Jenner demonstrated tolerance more than anything, tolerance of being someone he didn’t want to be. Besides, it’s easy to be courageous when you have a lot of money.
    I especially agree with Bob Costas in that the Arthur Ashe award should have gone to an athlete more contemporary. It was the 2015 ESPY Awards, not the 1976 ESPY awards (which obviously didn’t exist back then). As an athlete, Jenner has been off the radar for about 35 years, and i mean there has to be someone active in sports who’s deserving. If it’s true that Jenner would have backed out of the ESPY’s if he was granted that ABC interview, then I think the situation truly rots.
    Sometimes this society is way to soft or much too harsh; someday, I’d like to see a middle ground.

  35. deborah lariscy says:

    I don’t think the Espy’s were around or popular when Jenner won a load of athletic contests and at the Olympics, so I don’t think he should be out of contention cause he’s not competing today as Costas whines. The reason Mr Ashe had an award was his courage as a black athelete, AIDS patient and his impressive record. Caitlyn deserves it because of the enormous courage it took this star athlete to become who she was, despite a LOT of criticism, hate and misunderstanding. Also, the award was for athletes, not war heroes. I absolutely want to continue to praise, honor and support our Vets, but it wasn’t about them THAT night. I think Mr Berg missed that fact. IMHO

    • How about Tebow for having the courage for showing his religious convictions.

    • KJones says:

      I agree with you, glusterty…..”courage” is not the word I would use in association with Jenner. There are many forms of courage and a sex change is, I’m sure, difficult in many respects, yes, tolerance is a much better word. That being said, anyone who knows anything at all about Peter Berg knows that he is big into supporting our troops and they need lots of support. I doubt Jenner would ever be on the same level with Gasdon or anyone else in the military for that matter. Frankly, as you said, it’s all about the money and for some reason the world is enamored with the Kardashians, which includes Jenner. I don’t get it, but I do know that I am SO tired of hearing about this subject. There are many transgender people in the world, each with his or her own issues, and they could all be supported in a similar fashion but within reason. I’m just sick of Jenner.

  36. jclough says:

    Bravo Peter! All Bruce Jenner has done in my eyes is show everyone that he’s actually a real “wing nut”. Seriously? Who knows; maybe he’ll finally get some of the attention he deserves after having to live in that whacked out Kardashian household. They’d emasculate practically anyone.

  37. David says:

    Bruce Jenner won a gold medal and it took a lot of courage to become Caitlyn Jenner. This is exactly what the Arthur Ashe Courage award is all about.

  38. connie says:

    I agree with Peter! Finally someone said what most of us are thinking. There are many more people more deserving. This was a deal that “his” handlers made for him in exchange for the interview that he gave. All of this is for publicity. He is never going to have his surgery. He is just a cross dresser! He is 65 years old! Who is he trying to look sexy for?! No man is ever going to want him. He wants to outdo Kris and embarrass her. I feel so sorry for his children despite what they are saying to the public. He did not deserve this award at all. Also, a woman is dead. I pray his money or his “transformation” does not get him out of this.

    • Vicki says:

      Caitlyn Jenner apparently has a new show starting on E!. Coincidence? Hmmm… Personally, I have no quarrel whatsoever with anyone who is transgender, but as a person who was born female, I must question Caitlyn’s mode of dress. It’s very glamorous, to be sure, but comes across merely as stereotypical of what women look like: big hair, make-up, heels, gowns and such. There’s more to femininity than that. Lastly, I’m just plain sick of Jenner, the Kardashians and the rest of the media whores – too numerous to count – who don’t seem to be happy no matter how much attention they get.

      • sarah says:

        There is no comparison . Courage is giving of yourself to save others. Courage for Caitlyn is no where near the same definition. I agree this is all publicity. The courageous thing to do would have been for Caitlin (Bruce) to give the award to a truly courageous athlete not a man who has been off the athletic radar for years.

  39. Dave Joson says:

    Why is Caitlyn Jenner getting Arthur Ashe Courage ESPN Award for being a mentally unstable Transgender? The only hero here is U.S. Army veteran Gregory D. Gadson, who they snubbed for ratings on this tabloid award show. Peter Berg was right before he was forced to be politically correct by the Gaystopo.

  40. Sam Smith says:

    Caitlyn Jenner can go to hell. What a complete sham that person got an award for being and doing nothing. There are many other trans/ gay/bi/straight people that have done in 20 minutes than Caitlyn will ever do, sorry Bruce. Lauren Hill should have received that award not this waste of time. Not Caitlyn you do not get my respect and ESPN you lost a viewer for sure for showing that crap down our throats. Fox Sports will now be where I watch my highights. Vanity Fair can kiss my ass too.

  41. hadenough says:

    I hope the K fmaily and the jenner family, as well as a bunch of other cali fruitloops are in cali when the big quake comes. Won’t have to put up with their “look at me! and “take my picture” bs anymoore.

  42. Switchblade says:

    I’m with you Peter!!

  43. Skeezer says:

    I am insulted that Bruce Jenner claims he is a “woman”. I am a woman and there is more to “us” women than picking out a pretty dress; wearing nail polish; high heals and make up. He has not gotten the surgery to make him a women, down below. All he did was get fake boobs, and by the way, I can have fake boobs put on my male dog…. that doesn’t make him female. How dare him, and “yes”, I said “HIM” claim to be a woman. When he can have a period and PMS, carry a baby in his body for 9 months and give birth, and then go thru menopause, then HE can tell us he is a woman. When “HE” can understand how it feels to be in a dangerous situation, wondering if he is being followed to have his purse snatched, or raped….and by the way…..if someone did, “He” could hold his own, because “HE” is a man with upper body strength that women do NOT have. Don’t EVEN go there with trying to tell me that HE is a woman. I will stand toe to toe with that MAN until the cows come home. And by the way, I like Bruce Jenner……just not what HE claims he is. You can put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.

    • Daisy Jones Riley says:

      Amen Sister!!!!!

    • Paul says:

      Do you seriously believe that transwomen don’t know how it feels to be in a dangerous situation, or to fear being mugged, raped, or killed? Have some compassion. Read up a little on what it means to be transgender and get your mind out of the 1950s.

      • sarah says:

        Agree. A woman is much more than makeup and earrings. He claims he cares about his family. If he had he would have taken his desire to his grave for his family’s sake instead of forcing this upon them and expecting them to just accept. And please stop forcing it upon the rest of us.

      • Andy Zilla says:

        By the looks of all these comments its not the rest of the country moving on without them.Its not hatred its called an opinion,even if it doesn’t agree with yours.

      • David says:

        Their hatred keeps them stuck in the 1950s while the rest of the country moves forward without them

  44. Steve says:

    Berg is fully entitled to his opinions which in part or whole are shared by many others. Jenner is entitled to her life and, as long as she wants it to be public and people are willing to encourage her by demanding magazines and television shows, she will be visible. The ESPYs were looking for high ratings and she helped that cause. The first amendment grants the right to each of the above. If you don’t like what anyone is saying or doing, don’t listen or watch. I have respected Jenner since I worked on the CHiPs tv series with him, but am tired of the crass commercialization of her transition (money maker that it is). So, I turn it off. Jenner retains all rights to say and publicize as she wishes while I retain the right to ignore. Berg, with whom I’ve also worked, is a very smart man and in-demand director; overall his movies have found a solid box-office following. But if you don’t like his movies, don’t watch them. To comment on his physical appearance has nothing to do with his comments. Jenner works to gain equality for a minority community. Berg in many ways works to gain recognition and assistance for our service members. ESPYs work to make money in any way they can.

  45. Mildred says:

    I agree 1000% with Peter. If you don’t stand for something, you always fall for anything. This is like taking an orange and putting a cover over it that looks like an apple and than calling it a grape, It is still orange, it still taste like an orange and its still an orange. You are still Bruce. you will always be Bruce, you are a man, and you will always be a male with a penis, no amount of surgery can make you give birth and no amount of surgery can make you a female.

  46. JBarrett says:

    Way to go, Peter Berg!!!!! I canceled my ESPN and won’t give them another dime. This was a poor move.

  47. Ann Denzer says:

    Cailtyn Jenner should have done his transition QUIETLY out of the public”eye”. She does not deserve any award for anything. Vogue was in error with the cover picture…I do not buy the mag anymore. OUR VETERANS SHOULD BE GETTING ALL THE PUBLICITY AND AWARDS. Not the “K” family……a bunch of slugs.

    • Paul says:

      It was not Vogue, it was Vanity Fair. Either way I think you’re underestimating the tremendous good that Caitlyn’s visibility is doing for the trans community, which would not have been possible had she transitioned “quietly.” You may not like seeing her face on your TV screen but for a lot of kids out there she represents hope and courage. The suicide rates for LGBT youth are extremely saddening

    • ReganRotsInHell says:

      Yeah and then we should send those veterans back to die in more unnecessary wars because I’m a right wing moron! USA! USA! USA!

  48. 1favored says:

    Thank you Mr. Berg.

More Film News from Variety

Loading